NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – The North Salem tentative budget was presented this week, and it calls for a 4.033 percent increase in the tax levy, according to Supervisor Warren Lucas.
The increase means that property owners would pay $1.84 per $1,000 of assessed property value if the tentative budget remains unchanged.
The $7.6 million spending package is a 3.749 percent increase over the 2012 budget.
Lucas said the biggest increases were in health and pension costs – a 6.4 percent increase – and the town’s garbage contract, which rose 3.44 percent.
“My biggest problem was the garbage contract, which we put out to bid earlier this year,” he said.
Lucas said the contracts, which were awarded to Citywide Carting, run from Sept. 1, 2012, to August 2013, and Sept. 1, 2013, to August 2014. Each contract includes a 20 percent increase. He said town officials were shocked by the costs.
“The reason for the increase is prevailing and supplemental wages, gas costs and workmen’s comp,” he said. “But when the dust settles, it amounts to under $20 per month per household, and it’s still cheaper to do it this way then if everyone had to go out [and hire a carting service] on their own.”
Lucas said he doesn’t see many changes to the tentative budget before the final version is approved next month.
“It won’t get any lower as far as I can see,” he said. “There are no salary increases here, and the number of town employees is down 10 percent. It’s a very tight budget and there’s not much we can do to wiggle around. There’s not much risk in this budget. We may do some tweaking, but nothing major.”
Lucas said the Town Board passed a local law earlier this year allowing the town to supersede the state-imposed 2 percent tax levy cap.
“We went over it last year, too,” he said. “We have the same [fiscal] problems that everyone else has.”